Friday, April 20, 2018

Hobbies that Begin with "S" - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

During the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on hobbies that I have introduced to my daughters to through their childhood and teen years. Some were done as part of homeschooling, while others were areas that we explored because we were interested in the subject or activity. These are hobbies that anyone of any age could try as well.


Sophia and Olivia have tried many hobbies that begin with the letter "S": scrapbooking, sewing, singing, snowshoeing, spelunking, and swimming.


One of the things that the girls both tried was digital scrapbooking. They learned how to create a 200+ page scrapbook filled with photos, text, and graphics.

July 1, 2016

They worked on two books - one for the 2015-16 year and the other for 2016-17 year.

July 8, 2016

They worked with some other teens, but ultimately oversaw all the page designs and corrected errors or worked with the layouts.

May 4, 2017

We are debating about whether to do books for the 2017-18 years and forward just focusing on our homeschooling activities, or if we some different theme books that looks back on the girls' homeschooling years.


Just like quilting (a hobby the girls do that begins with "Q"), sewing is something the girls have been doing since they were young. Below, Olivia is taking a quick break from sewing a little quilt.

September 25, 2007

Sophia sewed a rebozo based on a picture she saw in an American Girl book. She used the rebozo for a play she was in based on the book she was reading. 

February 20, 2008

Olivia also sewed a costume for the play. She made a sash.

February 22, 2008

The girls did hand-sewing as well. Below, Sophia is making a scarf.

November 17, 2008

A year later, she made an upcycled apron using a pair of jeans and lace. She won first prize at the county fair on her project.

July 29, 2009

Olivia made a stuffed Santa toy (or pillow - depending on how you used it). She entered it into the county fair for one of her 4-H Cloverbud projects (for children 5-7 years old).

July 14, 2010

In 2016, the girls began taking sewing workshops through 4-H. At one session, they learned how to make pop-up containers. They were challenging to make, but both girls still use them.

September 25, 2016

Another project they made was a travel pillow. They chose the fabric and created a cute holder for a pillow.

November 11, 2016

Between hand-sewing and machine sewing, the girls have developed their skills and taken on progressively more difficult projects each year.


When the girls were about five years old, they began singing in the children' choir at church, the Almost Angels. One year, the choir director said he had a musical play that he and his wife were directing at their art center. 

So, both Sophia and Olivia auditioned and received parts in The Chocolate Milk Cow. They had a lot of fun at the rehearsals and performances that happened during the summer.

June 17, 2009

On the girls' First Communion, they sang in the children's choir.

January 9, 2010

One year, they sang in a 50s song and dressed up in handmade "poodle skirts."

February 13, 2011

The children's choir had performances almost monthly throughout the homeschool year.

September 18, 2011

There were a couple performances at Christmas - usually a week or two before Christmas as well as on Christmas Eve. For Music Sunday on the Sunday before Christmas, they were able to dress in choir robes and sing with the adult choir.

December 18, 2011

The girls also have done Christmas caroling at a group home for adults with different developmental disabilities.

December 19, 2011

The girls typically sang at Easter with the Almost Angels.

April 8, 2012

They also sang in the holiday play at Christmas to raise money for purchasing livestock for women in need in third-world countries.

December 15, 2012

By the time Sophia was almost 12 and Olivia was almost 10, there were only a few youth left in the choir. It also was difficult to get together the children's choir to sing on Christmas Eve. However, even with only five girls, their voices carried throughout the sanctuary.

December 24, 2012

A year later, the girls donned red hats to sing a favorite Tomten song followed by the traditional St. Lucia song.

December 15, 2013

They sang on Christmas Eve again and wore special scarves that were sewn by the choir director's wife.

December 24, 2013

In the Spring, the girls sang songs with a new - and younger - group of children.

March 23, 2014

Their voices helped guide the younger ones and sustain the choir until the younger ones became more comfortable singing and knew the songs.


For whatever reason, the girls received snowshoes for Christmas in 2010. Neither was particularly thrilled. However, they were intrigued with these odd, large shoes that would give them the ability to easily walk through and on top of snow.

December 25, 2010

We went snowshoeing with "real" snowshoes in Lilleskogan Park. The pine paths wound through pine trees which was beautiful.

February 1, 2014

Snowshoeing was a fun...yet exhausting.

February 1, 2014

The girls both took breaks as they snowshoed through the park. It was hard work! They were tired.

February 1, 2014

Although neither has put on a pair of snowshoes since 2014, at least they know how to snowshoe and could do the opportunity presented itself.


Although Olivia has toured a number of caves, they all have been accessible ones that were led by guides.

That is...until July 5, 2017, when Olivia and I explored a cave on our own without a guide. The ground was not modified in any way - so there were no smooth, lit pathways or handrails.

Rather, we needed to wear headlamps as well as have another source of light to ensure we could see as we made our way through and back in the cave.

We crawled over large rocks and boulders.

We navigated through passageways.

We enjoyed seeing the various colors and formations in the lava tube cave.

There were parts where we had to crouch down to get to the next section of the cave.

It was particularly challenging when we had to crouch down and climb over large rocks and boulders.

It was truly a rugged self-guided tour of  cave made by lava.

When we made it out, we looked at a map that showed where we had been.

Olivia will be going on a trip in early-May to explore several caves - some of which are equally as rugged as this one in Arizona.


The girls began taking swimming lessons when they were very young. It was important to us that they know how to swim - first as a way to enjoy themselves and second to have the skills if they ever fell into a lake or river and needed to swim to safety.

Once they were comfortable in water and had mastered the basic skills, we visited local beaches where they could play in the sand and swim in the water.

June 30, 2008

We also went swimming in hotel pools which the girls liked. This was always a special treat.

July 19, 2010

They continued taking swim lessons through the local community education program.

October 13, 2010

It increased their confidence in being in water.

September 6, 2011

Whenever we traveled, they would go swimming in the hotel pool. Below is a picture of a special pool we went in while we stayed in Maine - it was a saline pool.

September 8, 2011

It was different than other pools the girls had swum in.

September 8, 2011

Below, the girls are in Ely swimming. Earlier that day, they went to the International Wolf Center and the following day they were going dog sledding. It was a fun vacation.

February 23, 2014

When the girls would go swimming, often Sophia would pick up Olivia and throw her forward into the water. Olivia would laugh and have the greatest time being tossed into the pool.

February 23, 2014

She also liked jumping into the pool from the edge.

February 23, 2014

The girls enjoyed going swimming in Hastings with some of the youth who were on the Wildlife Project Bowl team one year on the night before the regional competition.

March 10, 2017

Swimming is something that they will probably continue doing throughout their teen years and well into adulthood.


Leanne said...

I loved all of these - swimming in Australia is a big favourite with kids - and we're always surprised when we see that many kids in other countries never learn the skill. It's such a fun way to spend Summer. I also loved their scrapbooking - really cute.

Leanne |
S for Stop Procrastinating

Seema Misra said...

Great set of hobbies beginning with 'S.'
What I found most exciting was the cave exploration - you are an Indiana Jones mom. What fun you must have had. Nice reading about your experiences and seeing the photographs.

Do stop by my #AtoZChallenge post for S and share your thoughts:

Emily in Ecuador said...

Wow, your kid's lives take me down memory lane of my own childhood! I sewed and was very active in 4-H. It is a great skill to have throughout life. My mom still makes barbie doll clothes and occasional wedding dresses. I sold my sewing machine before I moved to Ecuador. Now I only hand sew for clothing repairs.

Swimming was a big part of my life. As a teenager, I was a lifeguard. The only way to get out of summer haying was if I was scheduled to work. I worked as often as I could. LOL!

Once A-Z is over, I need to come back and read all of your posts.

Emily In Ecuador

Jui said...

Singing is my hobby too. I also like sewing! :)
Jui Positive Cookies